Ah, Ham Radio – a hobby enjoyed by many and endured by most of their neighbours… If you’ve landed here then it’s probably because we’ve just had a QSO or perhaps you’ve typed some words into your favourite search engine and found this site.
The main radio is a Kenwood TS-590SG with an 80m Doublet. On 6m, there’s a 3ele LFA yagi for seasonal Sporadic’E and for QSOs with the local riff-raff on 2m/70cm, I have a V-2000 colinear on the roof. In the car is an Icom IC-2730 50w dual-bander.
On HF, I tend to use CW and datamodes such as JT/PSK/RTTY. When operating CW, I’ll usually call at 16-18wpm, which is my comfort-zone for a “proper” QSO.
QSLs : My hobby is radio, not postcards – although some can be pretty, storing them isn’t practical so please don’t waste your time sending them. I am not an RSGB/Bureau member, so cards sent “via the buro” will never reach me. eQSL/LoTW are uploaded regularly.
When the weather is good, the safe confines of the Shack are left as I venture outdoors to operate portable with either an Elecraft KX3 or an FT-857D. I typically use a 10m fishing-pole to support a Linked Dipole in an Inverted-V configuration. When /P, it’s a mixture of CW+SSB – either QRP CW with the KX3 or the full 100w with the FT-857D.
For many Hams, operating outdoors is the best way to enjoy the hobby: A bit of space to put up an aerial, noise-free away from electrical QRM, or perhaps just a high take-off for some VHF operating. It also allows for a great deal of experimentation – not to mention attracting interest from curious members of the public.
These days, logging is not a requirement of the licence, but us Hams like to keep lists, make pretty charts and tick things off and that include me: Logging solutions are home-brew: PZTLog for desktop logging and tabLog for /P. PZTLog gives me a QSO logger, DXCC stats, DX Cluster, PSK/RTTY datamodes plus a contesting interface that handles exchanges/macros. Both are FREE and available for you to download and use.
My interest in amateur radio started back in 1992 with lots of listening to HF+VHF along with learning CW. Originally intending to take the RAE in 1994, it wasn’t until I turned 20 that I got my “ticket” after passing what was then known as the City & Guilds RAE and the 12wpm Morse test to get the old “Class A” licence. I’m not a member of any “traditional” club – after 2 attempts at being part of my local one, 10 years apart and including a stint at the sharp end on the committee – I decided that I was better-off enjoying the hobby by myself.
Thanks to a considerable amount of unconscious incompetence within the club structure, the progress of the keen and/or newly-licensed is often hindered which results in them typically losing interest in the hobby. An ideal Amateur Radio club should cater for both ends of the age/enthusiasm spectrum: It should care as much about newbies, digital modes, operating confidence and encouragement as much as it does about those who enjoy a monthly natter+biscuit after winning a battle with narcolepsy during a 60-minute slideshow of 20th-century telegraph poles.